The pace of “riots” and demonstrations that rocked Kazakhstan a few days ago, in protest against the rise in gas prices, accelerated, as “dozens” of demonstrators were killed by the police and more than two thousand others were injured in confrontations between protesters and security forces, while Russia and its allies sent a first batch of peacekeeping forces to support the security forces. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
More than 18 security personnel were also killed and hundreds more wounded, according to what the local authorities announced yesterday. Deputy Health Minister Ajer Ghinat told Khabar 24 channel that “more than two thousand people were injured as a result of the unrest in different regions of Kazakhstan, 400 of whom were admitted to Hospital and 62 people in intensive care,” according to the channel, which was reported by Interfax and TASS. And the authorities announced the killing and wounding of dozens of members of the security forces, according to the same government channel, which said that “the body of one of them was found beheaded,” according to news agencies TASS, Interfax-Kazakhstan and RIA Novosti.
Yesterday, local media quoted Kazakh police spokesman Saltana Azerbek that “dozens” of demonstrators were killed while trying to seize administrative buildings and police stations.
He said that “extremist forces tried to storm administrative buildings and police stations in the city of Almaty,” stressing that “dozens of the attackers were eliminated.” Footage appeared on the media and social networks, scenes of chaos from looting shops and storming and burning some administrative buildings in Almaty, while automatic weapons shots were heard in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, and the sound of gunfire came from the direction of the mayor’s office, which was stormed by demonstrators.
As a result of the chaos, uranium, of which Kazakhstan is one of the main producers in the world, witnessed a sharp rise in its price, while the shares of national companies collapsed on the London Stock Exchange.
President Tokayev took a series of emergency measures aimed at “ensuring the stability of the work of public services, transport and infrastructure”, strengthening the readiness of the security forces, resuming the work of banks, and preventing the export of some types of food products in order to stabilize prices.
The government also announced in a statement that it had set fuel prices for a period of six months, with the aim of ensuring “the stability of the social and economic situation.” The statement added that the government will impose a temporary 180-day moratorium on the rise in the prices of liquefied petroleum gas as well as gasoline, diesel fuel and facilities in a range of cities and counties.
The government also temporarily banned the export of foodstuffs, including meat, potatoes and carrots, “with the aim of stabilizing the prices of basic food products for the community.”
Meanwhile, Russia and its CSTO allies are on the front line, announcing the dispatch of its first battalion of peacekeepers to the wrathful Central Asian country.
“A collective peacekeeping force from the Collective Security Treaty Organization has been sent to Kazakhstan for a limited period in order to ensure the stabilization and normalization of the situation,” the military alliance said in a statement posted on the Telegram app.
He explained that the forces include units of the armed forces of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the other five members of the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization with Kazakhstan. The statement did not specify the size of the troops that would be sent, but said that the Russian unit includes members of the country’s airborne forces. He said that the main tasks of the forces “will be to protect important government and military facilities and help the forces of order to stabilize the situation.” He added that the Russian forces were transported by military aircraft to Kazakhstan, explaining that the advanced units “have already begun to carry out the tasks assigned to them.”
In turn, Russia declared that it views the riots and widespread chaos in Kazakhstan as an external attempt to undermine the territorial integrity of this country by force.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday that the process of undermining the territorial integrity of Kazakhstan is being carried out using well-organized and well-prepared armed formations. The statement added that Russia continues its vigorous consultations with the Kazakh side and its other allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organization to discuss taking effective next steps, if necessary.